Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter - Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial PorterVictory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,164 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 1,164
Hads: 5,657
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 8.51%
Wants: 950
Gots: 1,588 | FT: 107
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: radshoesbro on 03-17-2009

Our Victory at Sea Imperial Porter is a bold, smooth brew with just the right amount of sweetness. We infused this robust porter with whole vanilla beans and San Diego’s own Caffe Calabria coffee beans. The subtle roasted notes and minimal acidity of the cold brewed coffee, balances perfectly with the sweet caramel undertones of the malt, creating a winning combination for your palate.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,164 | Hads: 5,657
Photo of travisdiener32
4.56/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

To my surprise poured into a pint glass on tap at new world brewing in Tampa. Not on the same level as wide awake it's morning but still an impressive imperial porter. Think an imperial Breckenridge vanilla porter. Looking forward to more from ballast point now that they're distributing in florida (298 characters)

Photo of gcamparone
4.56/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. Purchased in North Providence, RI.

Pours a deep brown, nearly black body with a light mocha colored head that reduces slowly to leave a layer of foam.

Aromas of heavy coffee, dark chocolate, and vanilla come through. Very potent smelling and inviting. On the tongue is bitter coffee, really high cocoa percent dark chocolate, finish is vanilla and caramel, aftertaste is chocolatey and roasty. Very very nice. Thick and rich, low carbonation, little alcohol detected.

For a highly available imperial porter, this is a great option if you're in the distro range. Definitely would buy again. Prefer over FBS. (654 characters)

Photo of DaverCS
4.56/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured black with a finger of off white, Carmel colored head.

Aroma yields smokey malts, burnt coffee, and tobacco.

Taste is a big burst of smoke in beginning, followed by the roasted almost burnt coffee. Tobacco notes are woven through the smokiness, but primarily present up front. I don't get any vanilla. I get unsweetened cocoa powder followed by a twang of bitterness. The end of the sip is a strong kick/hit of alcohol. Not just warmth but also flavor.

Overall the beer is pleasant,but the lack of vanilla flavor and slight boo ones drops it down for me. Still this is an excellent porter. I could see it paired with a braised lamb shank in a rich Demi glace sauce. It gets a 91.2/100. (695 characters)

Photo of bnes09
4.56/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Dense viscous-looking motor oil colored liquid with a finger of whole wheat colored head on the pour. Head retreats to a ring around the glass and forms many small lace spots.

Rich, warm and inviting aroma of dark chocolate, bold coffee, vanilla and oak. Just a hint of bourbon. Extremely well balanced.

Dense, wheaty malt backbone with hints of cooked corn. Roasted malt boasts complex coffee, chocolate, toast and licorice qualities. Toffee and molasses sweetness in the perfect quantities to balance the roasted bitterness. Hop character starts as a non-specific, underlying, herbal bitterness allowing the malt character to shine through. The hops then morph into an aggresssive pinesol, garlic and nutmeg spice which maintains a good balance with the malty character and adds a spicy aftertaste. HInt of vanilla extract. Great balance for such a complex flavor.

Full bodied and bordering on a syrupy texture. Smooth and slick throughout from the dense malt then changes to ultra-dry from the aggressive hops. One of the more dynamic feels I've experienced in a beer.

Overall, this beer is outstanding. Deeply complex and delicious. (1,140 characters)

Photo of usechopstix4soup
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very black body with a thick foamy caramel head.

Smell is really what makes this beer wonderful. Smells of dark roasted coffee, vanilla, and caramel infused together dancing around the top of the brim into your nose. This is something you must try. There are bits and pieces of bread and other carby smells that give it depth.

The taste reminds me of a dark, black coffee with a shot of espresso and vanilla. It is bitter but porter lovers will be instantly drawn.

The porter has a watery body, lighter than most but this isn't something that I particular mind.

Great beer, definite recommend. (597 characters)

Photo of DavoleBomb
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass. Big thanks to Khazadum for this.

4.0 A: Pours a black color. Two fingers of light brown creamy/frothy hybrid head. Average retention and some lacing. Good enough.

4.5 S: Not surprisingly the strongest aromas are coffee and vanilla. Sweetness gives the illusion of coffee with cream. Plenty of toastiness, with some roastiness as well, some grainy malts, semisweet chocolate, and caramel. Very nice.

4.5 T: Tastes a lot like the nose which is a cup of strong coffee with vanilla cream. The bitterness seems to come from mostly the coffee and it's moderate strength at best. Again, roasty and toasty, grainy, caramel and toffee, and quite tasty. Booze is hidden well.

4.5 M: Heavier medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Super creamy and smooth. Nearly perfect.

5.0 D: This one drinks well from start to finish. Flavor is great as is the mouthfeel and this doens't seem like it's 10%. Good beer overall and easily the best I've had from BP. Sculpin doesn't even come close. (1,006 characters)

Photo of CHickman
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

Pours pitch black color with a big 2 finger dark tan creamy head that faded very slowly and left excellent foamy lacing that left all kinds of designs and rings as it went down, as well as a layer on top.

Smells like very burnt coffee that burnt the coffee pot/container over a campfire, with chili pepper-like notes, coffee grinds that sat and cooked all day, light vanilla, charred wood, toffee, cocoa powder, dark chocolate and more roast aromas like a smoldering fire or a pile of cinders and ashes. Some sweetness peeks through like fruit and more vanilla, but the charred and ashy roasted notes dominate the nose.

Flavor is much better and much more complex than the nose, with the burnt coffee grinds and charred wood leading it off, but then the taste shifts to a burnt espresso sweetness with caramel, dark chocolate, vanilla, molasses, ash, toffee, cocoa powder, fire roasted nuts, piney hops, more very roasted coffee and toasted pumpernickel bread. The burnt coffee is so strong I feel like I won’t be able to sleep tonight from the caffeine jolt. There are so many aspects of coffee products and charred/roasted malts (mostly chocolate malts) working together that the sweetness almost slips by un-noticed and leaves a trail of vanilla, fudge brownie and toffee that then turns quite bitter like a Starbucks coffee. I love coffee and this flavor profile was so amped up like coffee on steroids in the brew that I had to force myself to stop from drinking this too fast; unbelievable flavor that is very complex and makes up for the complete lack of balance in this beer. I swear I smelt and tasted jalapeno pepper in this, and if my senses are correct then it was a nice addition to the beer as there was no offensive heat at all and the 10% ABV was generally well hidden.

Mouthfeel was smooth and on the mellow side for such a big beer, with average carbonation, a thick, chewy body that was like a coffee with heavy cream and chocolate milk mixed in it, and a very bitter finish that was ashy and on the dry side.

Pretty intense for a porter, this sets the bar a bit higher since the roasted elements and burnt coffee are just so strong that this brew commands respect and forces you to throttle back and drink it slower. Extremely enjoyable overall this is worthy of all the praise and a beer I will certainly seek out again. Any coffee beer fan out there should hunt down a bottle of this, it’s that good. (2,434 characters)

Photo of ebin6
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

A - Pitch black color with a chocolate head which dissipates very slowly

S - I can smell the coffee from several feet away! Upon closer inspection it is indeed one of the most intense coffee noses I've smelled mixed with hints of vanilla and chocolate

T - True to form, it delivers a superb coffee & vanilla taste (I'm not even that fond of coffee). A bit suspicious of the "natural flavors"noted on the bottle, but....wow. I want more.

M - Rather dull considering the style, but it is obviously not the point of this beer

D - Hides the alcohol superbly and the coffee & vanilla taste does not wear, always leaving me wanting more (634 characters)

Photo of dbrauneis
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours jet black with a two finger mocha head with large bubbles in it. The beer has very good head retention and significant lacing.
S: Roasty malts with hints of vanilla, coffee, and chocolate.
T: Starts with the taste of the vanilla, followed by coffee, then a little chocolatey, and finishes with a nice roasty maltiness... has a little bit of the bitter acidity that one would normally associate with coffee. The taste of the alcohol is hidden.
M: Very full bodied with very little carbonation, nicely coats the inside of your mouth while drinking it.
O: Wonderful example of the porter style and something I could definitely have over and over again. (658 characters)

Photo of jmdrpi
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle, code of "VA513 05112", which is unclear of dating.

appears black, nice thick dark tan head. good lacing and retention. aroma is amazingly appetizing, bold vanilla, and sweet coffee with cream and sugar.

taste is a nice balance of roastiness and sweetness. not cloying at all. improves and gets more complex as it warms. medium body, moderate carbonation. nice and smooth drinking.

overall - a great beer. I guess called a porter because it's a bit thinner in body than most imperial stouts. (510 characters)

Photo of ZebraCakez
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured on 2/8/15 from 12oz bottle into snifter.

A: Pours a deep black color with a one finger khaki colored head that stays for the entire experience.

S: The aroma is somewhat subtle, but still inviting. Rich coffee and dark malt notes reign supreme here.

T: If you like coffee notes, this is an absolute must try. Fresh dark coffee, espresso, and vanilla all work together splendidly. There's some dark chocolate in the background, and it hides it's relatively high ABV beautifully. This is simply fantastic.

F: Thick and creamy, sticks to the mouth with pleasant carbonation. Nice.

O: I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to try this one, I'm hooked after my first bottle. (683 characters)

Photo of rawla
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

**Finally got around to typing the notes for this review***

Purchased a bomber from Vendome Wine and Liquor on Olympic Blvd on 12/17/2011 after Miguel, the gentleman who runs the beer section, recommended it due to it's limited availability.

Poured into a 6 oz snifter.

A: Pours with a rich, caramel head. About a finger of head. Surprising for a beer of this high ABV. Dark as night, but some range of color with some brown towards the head. A creamy toffee lacing on the sides. Awesome.

S: Vanilla Latte. The coffee is present, but the vanilla really PUNCHES through!. Very little alcohol presence in the nose. Impressive character.

T: Cafe con Leche notes, vanilla, espresso. Full semi-sweet presence throughout, without overbearing on the coffee and toasted profile. Well balanced. Again, you can't really taste the alcohol in this. Finishes off like coffee and vanilla bean, too. I want to say this is a straight-forward Imperial Porter, but that would be a disservice. It wants you to taste vanilla, coffee, espresso, and damn if it doesn't execute it flawlessly. Mmmm

M: Lighter than I expected. Goes down smooth, without really sticking through the roof of the mouth.

O: A stunningly well balanced Imperial Porter. Some bitterness i the end to keep the palate on it's toes, but overall an amazing beer. Will drink again.. A (1,341 characters)

Photo of djjacobsen
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark brown, night shade with a one finger tan head, small-carbed head. Nose is of freshly roasted coffee beans. Not much vanilla on the nose. Taste a bit smoky/roasted getting much more of the fresh coffee note that Ballast has added. Vanilla beans show up on the back end of the drink, staying for a while and almost becoming gourmand. Mouthfeel is creamy and enjoyable. It is a bit heavy but is a nice after dinner, dessert beer in the winter. This is more reminiscent if a stout than an imperial porter. Definately a fun change of pace as far as normal smoky porters/stouts go. Pick one up and give it a try. Very much enjoyed by a true hop-head who normally doesn't deviate from IPA land. (703 characters)

Photo of paco1029384756
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle thanks to Kegatron.

Pours near black with one finger of smooth tan head.

Scent of coffee upfront with sweet vanilla right after. Brown sugar, chocolate and earth with a touch of alcohol heat and sweet hops make this a very inviting scent.

Taste of sweet, creamy vanilla, rich chocolate, fresh bitter coffee, burnt wood and a touch of fruity hops. Very tasty, and balanced similarly as the scent. The brewers at Ballast Point can balance the hell out of some strong beer. (480 characters)

Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 into a snifter. Pours black with a 3/4 inch tan head. The lace is minimal. The smell is light, even after being swirled around in the snifter. I did make out roasted coffee and vanilla right out front. There are some notes of lemon rind.
The taste steps it up.a bunch. Dark roasted coffee with bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, butterscotch, slight lemon zest, earthy hops and a touch of alcohol, but well hidden. Very smooth on the way down. Perfect porter feel.
This would get a 5 but I'm not even halfway through my second glass and I'm wobbely. I wish I could drink four or five with no consequenses though. (627 characters)

Photo of BigBarley
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black, like an imperial stout, with a respectable thick khaki foam head, with a hint of brown. Smells like a bourbon barrel painted with vanilla extract. Hints of coconut, vanilla, bourbon, roasted chocolate, french coffee. Tastes damn near like the perfect porter, smooth chocolate, bitter dark coffee, vanilla and bourbon, and just the slightest hint of coconut. This flavor can stand up to many BA imperial stouts out there. Amazing. Mouthfeel is thick and velvety, relative to a foreign stout but the sweetness could ave you believing you were drinking an imperial stout. An all around beautifully brewed beer that touches on a wide range of flavors that many beer geeks go nuts for. A must-have brew in the craft community. (740 characters)

Photo of TotallyHosed
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thank you dimce for the bottles.

Aggressively poured into a large Cheers mug. The head starts at a two-fingered thickness with a very attractive creamy head that's the color of coffee with cream. The head disappears within a minute and lingers around the edge. The color is completely opaque black, even when held to sunlight.

The aroma is delicious. I pick up what smells like a mocha vanilla coffee drink. There is primarily chocolate and vanilla smell, with roasted coffee underneath. As the brew warms, more of the roasty aroma is coming through.

First sip is so nice! I'm tasting chocolatey vanilla at the start. What follows is some bitterness, probably from the coffee, and a little bit of alcohol burn. Finally, tasting a lingering roast coffee and chocolatey malts.

The feel is completely creamy. Not feeling any carbonation which I think fits this brew perfectly. In other words, it would be strange to feel any carbonation in a chocolatey coffee drink. My mouth is coated with creamy deliciousness.

Overall, I am very impressed with this brew. This has a great balance among the various flavors. I don't consider my palate to be well trained, so it's a nice surprise to be able to pick out the primary flavors intended by the brewer. This is what makes this porter a big winner. If this sounds good to you, then I highly recommend. I'm very happy to have received this in a trade. (1,396 characters)

Photo of ChrisMyhre
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a stemmed wine glass from the 22 oz. bottle. Enjoy by January 15, 2014.

a: Dark black, not sure if there's variation from batch to batch but I see no brown at all. Solid looking dark tan head, but not tall. Not much lacing.

s: Very vanilla forward, a little coffee, malt, and yeast though too.

t: Much less vanilla taste (I hate vanilla coffee so this is a very good thing to me), nice roasty, somewhat with lots of good coffee flavor .

m: Drinkable, just slightly on the drinkable side(for a 10.0 abv Imperial Stout at least), lower carbonation but still a very full feeling beer..

o: Excellent, the most balanced coffee stout/porter I've had, very subtle vanilla taste with nice scent, which is very rare. I will pick this up anytime I have extra dough lying around, would love to see in 12 oz bottles. (822 characters)

Photo of CommanderOfAwesome
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 2012 Bomber into a snifter glass. Second time having this awesome beer.

A: Pours extremely dark brown, very opaque. Very little light getting through this. Almost non exist dark khaki head. Does provide some nice lacing and alcohol legs.

S: This is where this beer shines the most IMO. Air freshener. Could smell this all day, esp once it warms up. Getting strong vanilla and coffee aromas along coco powder. Some of the roasted malts shinning through as well. Great aroma, really opens once it warms up a bit.

T: Taste strong in the categories advertised. Vanilla Coffee with a hint of what I can only describe as chalky chocolate (in a good way). Smooth as hell and delicious. Some slight alcohol taste pokes through.

M: Full bodied, and sweet on the tongue. Bit of a alcohol burn on the finish.

O: Fantastic beer. Loving every sip and a must try for any stout/coffee fan. (898 characters)

Photo of WheelsPSU
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Brought a bomber for Thanksgiving. It poured a dark syrup color bordering on black. It had a khaki head that did not last very long. The smell was of fresh morning coffee with hints of dark chocolate. Not overwhelming.
The taste followed the smell. The coffee hits first followed by unsweetened chocolate and vanilla on the finish. It's velvety, smooth and delicious. The alcohol is well hidden and not detectable until the beer really started to warm. (453 characters)

Photo of clegolfski
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fun Tasting at Jay's

Super black black with creamed coffee head, not great retention.

Big time carmelly vanilla really good coffee with a flavor shot

Acrid coffee up front and fades into Vanilla deliciousness

smooth and sexy with a nice warming at the end (261 characters)

Photo of Bowers-Brew
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A - Super dark brown porter. Nice creamy foam head.

S - Coffee, chocolate, and sweet raisin and vanilla notes.

T - Great coffee flavor up front with a sweet vanilla finish.

M - Smooth, creamy, and just the right amount of carbonation.

O - Only my second Ballast Point beer and I'm very impressed so far. I definitely will have this porter again and look forward to trying more of their beers. Prost! (407 characters)

Photo of marvin213
4.58/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I don't really know how a porter could look better. Black as the pitch, it's the frothy, teeny-tiny bubbled tan froth that makes this liquid concoction appear so scintillating. The froth layers the glass each swirl, and it beckons. This beer looks like it came from Starbucks!

Served warm, I do indeed get the coffee, the vanilla, and the oh-so-lovely roasted malt presence on the nose. Wonder what this one would be like thru a vanilla bean randall. Oh how I'd love to try some of the crazy variations listed here on BA!

Served warm, that initial sip (gulp, really) comes through a little hot...I love it, and it tastes imperial! Not sure about the coffee--it should shine through a little better. Some original Dunkin Donuts or some Jittery Joe's (Terrapin WnB) would be a marked improvement. With a flavor like vanilla, I'm like always wanting more. What if they went tequila-style and replaced the worm w/ a big ol fat vanilla bean? I'd eat the bean for sure...especially sine the beer would cost $10 more! Really, though, this is an exemplary American Porter and a sure winner with any beer lover!

The feel is smooth, but more viscosity wouldn't hurt. What about a creamy Victory at Sea on a nitro pour? Thru a vanilla bean
randall? This beer is a medium/additive for all things good. It would be delicious as a substitue for gravy on my morning biscuits. :-0 Overall, it's just great! This is a classic brew that's always worth grabbing, and it represents some of the wonderfulness that is American craft beer!

Editor's note: I have never used so many exclamation points in a single beer review...! (1,609 characters)

Photo of kfsv034
4.58/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

shared with Drink1121

A - poured in a duvel tulip, color is dark dark purple with a reddish purple boarder when held up to the light. A slight mocha colored head.

S - vanilla coffee

T - multiple flavors going on, vanilla, coffee, chocolate, carmel and bourbon or whiskey flavor at the end. It taste like a beer milk shake, Kinda boozy when it warms up.

M - like the texture or milk

D - Kinda boozy but i could drink a few cause it tastes so good (451 characters)

Photo of MA_hops
4.58/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An absolutely ludicrous beer! The rich coffee notes combined with chocolate, vanilla and caramel make this one of the best beers known to man!! It's a classic! (159 characters)

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,164 ratings.